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NOVEL LESSON FOR WEIGHT CARRIERS.
I have several friends who ride great weights: they
I am never (among my various follies) so arrogant or so weak as to expect any one to be guided by my opinions unless I can back them by some proofs of their correctness in particular cases. Now I do fearlessly give it as my opinion, that, allowing a proper latitude for the appropriateness of it, we can never positively judge a horse's powers till we try them, and I shall trouble my readers with more than one proof of this. I could produce many.
In a town where I lived some four years since, namely, the same where our great agricultural friend was trying the dealer's nag, I observed another heavy weight, but comparatively a feather, for he was not more than about 17st. I constantly saw him riding a light thorough-bred looking mare, one of that sort
POETIC DESCRIPTION OF TWO PONIES.
that we should say had not timber to carry her body: it would be more in character to say her body was too big for her legs. In fact, though, as I ascertained, she was thorough-bred, her back, loins, and thighs were equal to 20st., but her legs to look at were tobacco pipes. They reminded me of a beautifully poetic description of two ponies I once saw under a print at the Stag and Hounds on Binfield Common, a “meet” of her Majesty's hounds. The print possibly hangs there still; if so, many, who like me on that occasion have met the hounds there, may have seen it. The ponies were drawing in a phaeton a lady and gentleman; I forget the costume of either, but I conclude it was the gentleman in a lightish blue coat, fully displayed gilt buttons, canary coloured pantaloons, and Hessian boots; the lady, a crimson riding habit, large bouquet, hat and feathers. But for the eulogy on the ponies:
Sure never were seen two such beautiful ponies !
Shades of Byron as a poet, or Lonsdale as a sportsman, turn not towards me while perpetuating this effusion !— But let us perpetuate the mare.
I had often admired the springy action of the tobacco-pipe legged mare ; but these said legs, though looking scarce equal to carry her weight, could and did carry it, and, with the saddle, about 18st. to boot in a way few men were carried. She stepped as if she went on India rubber. She had carried the gentleman five years when I first knew her: I saw her carry him for five years afterwards ; she had not a 58 STRENGTH NOT DEPENDENT ON SIZE. windgall on either leg when I left the country: and, what renders it more extraordinary is, he had begun riding her when only four years old. The old saying “an ounce of blood is worth a pound of bone,” is not far out; but it means “ if the bone is without blood ;" for of course, provided a horse has blood, that is good blood, he cannot have too much bone, though some can do wonders with very little.
Bob Booty, the Irish horse, was not a large one, but for a race horse a thick one: he, after he had done racing, carried his master as a hack, who was a welter weight. I have often seen him on the little horse, who went under him as if he had 9st. on his back, and I was told carried the same weight with hounds in a heavy country, and Bobby's little white nose was always where it should be.
I can instance a mare that as a race-horse was a very bad one, so out of compliment to her master I will not mention his name. This mare was singularly small below the knee, but with famous back and loins. At light weights, she was not good enough to start for a hat: when I say not good, I should say not speedy, for she was good and game as a pebble. Now though with 7st. on her in a mile and a half race she might just save her distance, and certainly would not her credit, put 10st. on her, make it three miles and a heavy course, some pretty good race-horses have felt the whipcord to beat her, and could not always do it then : she never seemed to feel weight. I saw her afterwards run her first hurdle-race, and, with 12st. on her, she literally flew the hurdles; and not only at the first, but at all of them she went a foot higher and certainly ten wider than she had occasion to have done. In her preliminary canter of the
course, I am certain she took off fourteen feet before she came to it. She won in a canter. This mare afterwards went to Ireland, and I understand showed the way in a steeple race or two. So much for her tobacco-pipes : properly placed as to weight, she would use them, and make others smoke too if they went with her; as Mademoiselle Celeste in one of her parts promises she will make the old man do if he becomes her cara sposa.
In considering the effect weight has on horses in conjunction with other effects, I trust we have come to one conclusion at least: namely, that the appearance of strength, so far as size goes, is often very deceptive. I in no way mean to assume that my opinion has led to such conclusion, but that the few instances I have brought, out of the many I could bring, has had this effect. Supposing this to be the case, we must on the other hand allow that the man or quadruped evincing the greatest outward appearances of strength is in a general way the strongest ; still by no means invariably so; and further than this, the indications of power are often mistaken ; consequently, what to a common observer may denote power, to a better judge may be very questionable. We are quite aware that of two ropes made of the same material, and equally well made, one of an inch diameter must be stronger than one of half an inch. With two sticks made of wood of the same toughness and solidity, the result in testing their relative strength would be the same. So, take two horses of equal breeding, equal symmetry, equal courage, and made of equally good materials, the larger will be the most powerful;' and going on this principle, as I never bought bad made or bad bred ones, I generally
A ROPE FOR THE AUTHOR.
found large-sized horses do tolerably well for a man of my moderate expectations. But now let us return to the ropes that I first mentioned. Suppose the one to be made of but ordinary material, the other of the best cord. (I may be destined to find the half-inch one quite strong enough to do my business.) Curran said, “ a hearse was the coach after all.” I may find the small bit of choice hemp the rope “AT LAST," either by voluntary or forced experiment. I hope there is no wish on the part of my readers that I should do so, as I fear I should say as Pat does, "the more you bid me the more I won't:" for many as are my obligations to all my readers, I do not pretend to be as obedient as the Frenchman, who, we are told, on being “bid to go to H11, to H_11 he goes.” In fact, I have not about me the same obedience: if I had, I might be tempted to do what some friends have suggested, write a sporting novel : but wanting this, as the loss of one faculty increases others, my ideas are just enough to convince me, that, after having written this same novel, it would be sent by the public vivâ voce to the same place the Frenchman so courteously betakes himself; so on the whole I consider it would be a devilish bad spec.
When I touched on politics last month, it was pretty clear I dare say to every one that I had, as I said, got out of my line of country: in talking of ropes (though I do not think in this case the thing is quite so clear), I hope I am out of my line also; and when I run to earth, let me hope (if it is to such an one as the Frenchman makes for) I may find it stopped. “Hark back” is odious to a fox-hunter,